Andrew Peterson, assistant professor of engineering, has won a Young Investigator Award from the U.S. Navy. Peterson, one of only 26 young faculty nationwide to be selected, was recognized for scientific pursuits that show exceptional promise for the Navy and Marine Corps. The award is intended to promote the researcher’s professional development; Peterson will receive three years’ funding for research that could advance naval technology, the Navy announced Tuesday, March 27. Peterson joined the Brown faculty in January. His primary research is devoted to figuring out how to produce carbon-based fuels from renewable sources. A key to such a breakthrough lies in overcoming the steep energy threshold needed to split carbon dioxide molecules into hydrocarbons. Peterson’s approach is to rely on quantum mechanics calculations to design catalysts to make those reactions more efficient and less costly.

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